Flow cytometric characterization of the response of Fanconi's anemia cells to mitomycin C treatment

Cytometry. 1982 Mar;2(5):291-7. doi: 10.1002/cyto.990020505.


DNA flow histogram analysis, using 33342 Hoechst as a stain, has been used to detect the effect of the potentially bifunctional alkylating agent, mitomycin C (MMC) on dermal fibroblasts from patients with Fanconi's anemia (FA), a hereditary human disease characterized by pancytopenia, hypersensitivity to DNA-crosslinking agents, congenital abnormalities and a predisposition for neoplasia. At 24 or 48 hr after a 2-hr exposure to 0.05 or 0.10 micrograms/ml MMC, (3)HdT incorporation was reduced to a greater extent in FA cells than in normal cells. Cells sorted from the last half of S phase showed a slightly greater inhibition of (3)HdT incorporation than did those sorted from the first half of S. Fanconi's anemia cells exhibited a marked accumulation in the G(2) + M peak of flow histograms following exposure to MMC. Twenty-four hr after treatment with .0.5 micrograms/ml MMC, the G(2) + M fraction of FA cells (eight lines) increased to more than 0.5 from a control value of approximately 0.02. Both normals (six lines) and heterozygotes (eight lines) showed, on the average, much less of a G(2) + M increment than did FA cells, even after exposure to 0.1 micrograms/ml MMC. Examination of cells sorted from the G(2) + M peak revealed that MMC-treated FA cells were blocked prior to mitosis. To determine whether the response of FA cells was specific for bifunctional alkylating agent, cells were also treated with ethylmethanesulfonate, a monofunctional agent. Twenty-four hours after exposure to 0.25 or 0.5 mg/ml ethylmethanesulfonate, FA and normal cells showed similar, small increases in the G(2) + M peak. The results suggest the utility of flow cytometry in the diagnostic evaluation of fibroblasts from patients suspected of having Fanconi's anemia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alkylating Agents / pharmacology
  • Anemia, Aplastic / genetics*
  • Cell Cycle
  • DNA Repair*
  • DNA Replication / drug effects
  • Fanconi Anemia / genetics*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans
  • Mitomycin
  • Mitomycins / pharmacology*
  • Mitosis / drug effects


  • Alkylating Agents
  • Mitomycins
  • Mitomycin